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Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

View Secretary Sullivan's Bio

This September, I invite you to join thousands of volunteers across the state who will participate in COASTSWEEP 2011 – a beach cleanup event that happens throughout September and October. In the past five years, more than 13,000 COASTSWEEP volunteers have removed over 6,500 bags of trash from Massachusetts beaches and riverbanks. As part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by The Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C., COASTSWEEP aims to collect trash and other marine debris, such as food wrappers, pieces of fishing net, truck tires, milk crates or beverage cans, and cigarette butts, from beaches, riverfronts, and lakeshores across the state. All the debris collected will be recorded onto data cards that will expand understanding of types of materials that pollute beaches in Massachusetts and all over the world. This year, COASTSWEEP  will celebrate its 24th anniversary.

Marine debris not only affects recreational activities for families across the Commonwealth, but it also injures or kills thousands of marine animals each year. Fish, birds, and other wildlife swallow particles found on the beach, while turtles and marine mammals can become entangled in fishing nets offshore.

The hard work and dedication of thousands of COASTSWEEP volunteers help ensure that our beaches are the best they can be. Each of nearly 100 local cleanups across the state is led by a coordinator who identifies important sites in need of debris removal and organizes potential volunteers. 

For a list of beach cleanup scheduled in your area, check out

For tips on how to keep Massachusetts’ shores clean year round, visit

I hope you’ll join this worthwhile effort to get our beaches, lakeshores, and riverfronts in ship shape!

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